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Wednesday / October 17.
HomeOutingsBrandy’s Piano Bar cure for an ordinary day

Brandy’s Piano Bar cure for an ordinary day

Brandy's Piano Bar in Yorkville

Brandy’s Piano Bar makes you feel like nothing can get you down over the next day or two.

This unassuming hangout is tucked away in a 6-story apartment building on a nondescript block in the East 80s.  It’s surrounded by other 4-, 5- and 6-story walk-up apartment buildings.  A bridal shop, dry cleaner, barber shop and small pub can be found nearby.

 

Yorkville is home to Brandy's Piano Bar

Jim Luzar, co-owner, Brandy’s Piano Bar

 

No attitude.  No frills.  Not fancy.  Not a big space.  Brandy’s Piano Bar has a dark interior with a dark bar and dark tables and dark chairs and lights with dark sconces dating back to the 1950s.  There’s an upright piano with the bench pushed up against the wall.  Hanging on some panels is artwork created by a customer long ago, instead of paying the  bills.

 

Brandy’s Piano Bar might not sound like the kind of place that attracts big crowds, but if someone’s planning to wander in on a Friday or Saturday night, the chance of getting a table for 2 doesn’t exist.  Everyone, including the professional performers and patrons, is greeted with a line that snakes out the door and winds its way down the block.

Cure for an ordinary day

The staff at Brandy’s Piano Bar creates an experience that makes it possible for you to forget everything that bothered you during the day.  It’s the perfect cure to a long day of rushing around, ushering young kids home from after-school games and helping them with their homework, making a quick stop into the dry cleaner minutes before it closes to pick up that stained shirt or top, dragging yourself up the subway stairs after a long day at work, finishing that important work-project that might help you get that promotion.

 

The stress will melt.  That pulsing headache will turn into a feeling of cascading water from the top of your head, down its sides, below your ears and to the neck’s nape.  Muscles that feel like they’ve been turned into twisted pretzels will unwind.

 

 

Happy singers at Brandy's Piano Bar

Elliott Rother, Justin Lopez and Jennifer Pace

 

 

We stopped in on a Wednesday night when Elliott Roth, Jennifer Pace and Justin Lopez were performing and working.  Justin worked behind the bar, Jennifer served drinks and Elliott played the upright piano.  Each took a turn singing a couple sets or more.

Big personalities with big voices

They have big personalities, bigger voices and an even bigger array of song-lists.  Cheerful pop and moody crooning and gentle rock and reflective folk and soulful blues and upbeat jazz.

 

Elliot, the piano man, is at the center of it all, playing through the night and performing every single hand-written request from the crowd.  The son of a jazz-drummer father, Elliott’s experience dates back to when he was 13 years old and playing at the Pittsburgh Hilton.

 

 

As the waitress and performer, Jennifer sings and glides through Brandy’s creating levity throughout the night, inviting the audience to sing along, and drawing laughs from the crowd.  She, too, comes from a musical family and learned from her jazz-musician Dad.

 

 

 

 

Mixing drinks and vocals at Brandy’s Piano Bar

The bartender and performer, Justin is the anchor, mixing drinks and vocals with Elliott, Jennifer and the crowd.  Occasionally, ever high-spirited, Justin gives out a loud shout from behind the bar.

He recently performed on the live tv musical, Jesus Christ Superstar, as a member of the ensemble.  It aired on NBC, Sunday April 1st.

 

The three of them turn the dark, small, sleepy space into a bright, vibrant, intimate party.   They’re warm and accepting and supportive and authentic and spontaneous and creative and fun.  And very talented.

Could be Billy Joel or the next Billy Joel

The crowd gets wrapped up their lively environment.  They sway along to their singing.  They laugh along with them.  They sing along with them.  Someone gets up and sings a song while Elliott plays the piano.  There’s always a chance the next Billy Joel might be found signing at Brandy’s, just as he did a while back.

 

Jim Luzar, the Piano Bar’s co-owner, wouldn’t have it any other way as he says his staff “is Brandy’s biggest asset”.

Having a party

And he knows what he wants them to do.  “We’re having a party.  I want them to create a party atmosphere.”  The best way for that to happen, Jim says, is to “give them room to be creative”.

his staff ‘is Brandy’s biggest asset.’

Like a proud Dad, Jim’s in awe of the performers and proud of them at the same time, practically shouting “these kids are amazing” and a few of his performers “kill” the songs.

 

When we looked at our watches and realized we had to force ourselves to leave so we can start the next day at a reasonable hour, Jennifer gave us a big hug.  We gave her one right back.

 

 

 

Brandy’s Piano Bar

235 East 84th Street

Happy Hour: 4pm-8pm

Live Music: 9:30pm – 3am

 

Betsy Petrick

Betsy Petrick

A longtime resident of the Upper East Side, Betsy Petrick has written for TV News, radio, web-based media and corporate communications.Betsy can be seen walking with Phoebe, her labradoodle.
Betsy Petrick
  • Mario Bretschneider

    Yorkville was the German Quarter a long time ago. The restaurant “Heidelberg”, “Schaller & Weber” or “3 little geese” are the last relics from this time. The inhabitants have long been scattered all over New York. Let me therefore write something for all those whose mother language is German:
    Ich habe diese kleine Bar in der 84. Straße im Jahr 2003 das erste mal besucht. Skeptisch blickte ich durch die beschlagenen Fenster und hörte Lieder von Madonna, Elvis und Aretha Franklin. Nur zögerlich ring ich mich dazu durch, die Bar zu betreten. Das lag unter anderem auch daran, das damals noch drinnen geraucht werden durfte. Nachdem ich ein Getränk bestellte und seltener weise gleich eine Platz an einem der wenigen Tische hatte staunte ich nicht schlecht,
    als plötzlich die Kellnerin anfing zu singen. Von dieser Sekunde an war ich wie verzaubert, ja regelrecht süchtig nach dieser Bar. In den folgenden 15 Jahren führten mich meine Weg mehr als 20 mal nach New York und mindestens 25 mal zu “Brandy`s”. Gern erinnere ich mich bei Musik aus der Konserve (natürlich von und mit den Sängern aus der Piano-Bar) an solche Größen wie Natalie Douglas, Johanna Pinzler oder Bobby Belfry. Also ihr shoppenden Touristen: Brandy’s Piano Bar ist ein “MUSS”!!!